Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

[P]
The Odd Spot

By horseskin spacesuit in Fiction
Sun Dec 17, 2006 at 12:00:00 PM EST
Tags: (all tags)

On the same morning the local paper ran a story about a German bus-driver convicted of penetrating two golden retrievers, Kevin Miller chewed his toast thoughtfully and wiped his buttery fingers on a motel bedspread. The worst thing about it, he decided, was the way it had been sectioned. "The Odd Spot" was normally reserved for light-hearted, strange-but-true news stories, like pelting frog-rain in Tanzania or some drunk guy breaking into prison. There was nothing light-hearted about a bus-driver putting his dick inside a golden retriever. Boning a pair of them was even less funny.


Adjusting his tie in the mirror, Kevin couldn't shake the mental image of this unholy, ten-legged ménage à trois. Did he wear protection? Did he fuck one while the other was forced to watch? Ironically, he would have found a full-page spread more palatable. Something like Dog Rapists Exposed: The Ins and Outs of Pet Fetishism. At least you wouldn't be left wondering. Kevin rubbed his chin with one hand and rifled through the motel's courtesy toiletries with the other.
Bingo!

(Single blade)

Fuck it.

From four-star to three-star is a long way down. It's certainly a palpable indication that your career is heading in the wrong direction. The shampoo bottles are smaller. The soap is bigger. You get a toothbrush and toothpaste but no emergency miniature sewing kit. Popping a shirt-button in a three-star hotel can fuck up your whole day. Then when your career becomes a job, you're downgraded to two-star, which is dangerously close to sleeping in your car. Kevin was so close he could smell the vinyl. He'd already rolled the driver's seat all the way back, just to see how flat it would go.

In this motel room, instructions on correct use of the facilities were plastered over every surface, in short strips of white-on-red Dymo label. Things like:

HANG TOWLS AFTER USE

But multiply that by thirty or forty. It's like every time a guest did something that pissed off the owners, they made a new label, so they'd be the last person that ever did it.

PLEASE USE BRUSH AS NEEDED

The handle on a toilet brush should be at least as long as the water is deep in a toilet. That's why if you're looking to mass produce toilet brushes, you probably should start with a prototype - unless your primary market is two-star motels.

#

The receptionist at the day's first job spoke like she had a dick in her mouth - too many closed-throat glottal stops and drawn out vowels. Kevin explained again to Mrs Dick-in-Mouth that he was only there to test the UPS, but Dick-in-Mouth was convinced that Kevin was the guy who had come to see about the problem with the letters rubbing off her keyboard.

"Look, I'm sorry," said Kevin. "I'm just the UPS guy."

Dick-in-Mouth went silent, and looked down forlornly, fingering the blank surface of a key with a painted nail.

Kevin didn't really know much of anything about Uninterruptible Power Supplies. He knew a UPS was some kind of battery for keeping computer equipment going in the event of power failure. He also knew it could tell a computer to turn itself off.

"Hey computer!" - he imagined the UPS would say, in that crazy language computers use to speak to each other - "The power's out, and I can't keep you running forever, you know! You'd better switch yourself off buddy, just to be safe..."

In Kevin's mind, computers were always watching each other's backs.

Testing a UPS was so simple you could train a monkey to do it. The actual bit Kevin got paid for - the "dark art" of UPS testing - involved pressing a button, watching for a green light, and ticking a box. If the light flashed amber, he put a cross instead. Then a guy much smarter than Kevin would come out and take a closer look. This was one of the more lucrative scams Kevin's company had running. In fact, they made more money charging out Kevin's button-pressing finger to customers than they did selling UPSes.

The company had UPSes everywhere, which meant Kevin travelled everywhere. At least when you're travelling it's new faces every day, so nobody notices you're getting fatter. For Kevin, sausages and mashed potato in a pub was always a guilt free evening meal. The condiments this time consisted of salt, pepper and a dirty ashtray. Dinner company was a man who looked like a walrus, watching horseracing. There were other tables, but this one was closer to the TV. Wide-screen equine action. First, second and third place went to horses with ridiculous names. The Walrus cursed into his glass and turned to Kevin. Kevin ate his chips and smiled. The Walrus eyed him suspiciously.

"Don't tell me you won?"

"Haha. No. Not me. I don't really gamble."

"Then what you smiling about?"

"I don't know. I know how you feel, I guess. You know, winning and losing."

"I thought you didn't gamble."

"Well, I don't. But life's a gamble, isn't it? I mean, every day, you're winning and losing at something."

The Walrus flashed a smartarse grin. "So what did you lose to end sitting next to me eating sausages?"

"Hmmm. Where do I start."

"Why? Is it that complicated?"

"Well it is, when you think about it. I mean where do things start, really? It's kind of like this story I was reading in the newspaper the other day. This guy, he's just been in a car accident. So the ambulance rolls up, and they put him in, then off to hospital, right? Wrong! They're on the way, and the ambulance gets hit by a bus! So now it's fucking chaos. Every ambulance in the city is running a shuttle service for all the injured bus passengers, and car-crash guy, he's hurt even worse than before. So they have to put him in a helicopter and take him to a better hospital."

"Did that really happen?"

"Yeah I told ya, it was in the paper. It was in Amsterdam or somewhere, but it happened. You know what I was thinking, though? What if the helicopter crashed on the way to the second hospital! Fuck, can you imagine? It could just keep snowballing. One accident just rolls into another, except every time more people get hurt, just for being in the vicinity of this bad-luck man."

"So what has this got to do with you?"

"Well I'm getting to that. See, my life is just one big series of accidents, like that guy. It's worse for me though. It started off small, but every little accident is like a setup, so I'm always in the wrong place, just in time to catch the next one. That's why I'm here. In this pub. In this town. Staying at a shitty motel. You know what really worries me though?"

"What?"

"What's coming next? Like, what am I being set up for, right now? How big is my next fuckup?"

"You think people's lives have to keep getting worse and worse?"

"Maybe not everybody's, but mine does. It's not as bad for me as it is for car-crash guy though. At least I'm not dragging people into my snowball."

#

Finding how to get to the last job required an emergency install of PaperNav, which was basically just Kevin putting a map on the steering wheel. Some jobs were strictly after hours, purportedly because people didn't want to risk their computer system having a hiccup during business hours, but maybe also because they don't want the fat UPS guy standing at the counter rubbing shoulders with paying customers. Clearly, modern architects deprecated the tradesman's entrance several decades too soon.

At least the receptionist at this place didn't sound all dick-in-mouthy, and if you squinted enough and dimmed the lights, you could almost pretend she was attractive. She smiled at him, too, which was unusual. Usually the girl who draws the short straw to lock up after the UPS guy is all kinds of angry-face about having to wait around.

She showed Kevin to the back room, and Kevin waited until her form disappeared from the doorway before commencing. He liked to test alone. The worst part of being the UPS guy is that no-one appreciates the work you do. Your usefulness to society is invisible. Kevin envied people who stole all the glory for provision of trivial services. Like the guy who changed the water-cooler bottle. Or the man who replaced the Coca-Cola in the vending machine. Yeah, the Coke guys were the luckiest of all. Everybody likes Coke. Everybody understands Coke.

Unlike UPSes, Coke machines are out where they can be seen. People are embarrassed about their power supply vulnerabilities, but they have no hang-ups whatsoever about pimping Coke, that's for fucking sure. The Coke guys were always on show. Smiling at customers and chatting up secretaries. Plus Coke machines needed filling way more than UPSes needed testing. The Coke machine guy must be there every other day. Developing relationships. Building rapport. Yeah, the coke guys get all the pussy, Kevin decided, as he squatted over his work, pushing and ticking. That's when he sensed a presence in the room.

The receptionist was back in the doorway. Kevin squinted at her through the shadows.

"Your a travelling man, right? So you're staying somewhere? In a motel?"

"What?"

What happened next fell outside the realm of Kevin's experience.

The receptionist undid her top button, showing the place where her cleavage would be if her breasts were big enough to fill the space in her blouse.

Kevin, couldn't believe this was happening to him. Fat Kev - the thirty six year old UPS tester who had never touched a woman's hoo-ha - was being propositioned.

The receptionist turned sideways and placed her shoulders against the doorway, arching her back so that her crotch was pushed forward. From Kevin's vantage point, her large nose was crisply silhouetted against the light from the LCD on her desk.

Kevin took in a sharp breath and fumbled inside his pocket for his keys.

"Let's go."

#

Before they were out of the car park, Kevin's fly was down to the hilt. Within two blocks, she'd worked his stubby penis from his pants, and leaned forward far enough to take to the protruding tip into her mouth. The gap between the steering wheel and Kevin's gut was making movement difficult though, for both of them. Kevin's face puckered into a thousand-hamburger-grimace-of-regret as he pushed himself back harder into the seat, jamming her head tighter with every wriggle. The wheel resisted him, so Kevin turned it with more force, squeezing a discomforting groan from below. Panicking now, he grabbed madly at her wedged head, pushing it harder into his crotch in an attempt to regain control of the steering.

The last sensation Kevin felt was a dental receptionist's front teeth puncturing his stomach, as the car decelerated from sixty to zero to accommodate the power pole embedding itself deep into the engine bay. Five seconds later, a thousand TVs in a thousand houses went black. Lights flickered out. People staggered blindly through darkened homes to stand wide-eyed at windows and doors, peering into unlit streets and inky cul-de-sacs.

In the back room of a nearby dental surgery, a row of UPSes hummed cozily under the gentle glow of their own amber warning lights. The waiting-room goldfish jerked about in agitatation at the nagging alarm that had been raised - long, piercing beeps bouncing through empty rooms, looking for someone who might care. What the fish couldn't hear was the urgent bedtime story being told underneath it all. Words of guidance and support voiced in a tongue that only machines can hear. A row of blinking computers paused to listen attentively, then uttered an acknowledgment. Then together they tidied up their things, put their records away and drifted off to sleep.

Sponsors

Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure

Login

Related Links
o Also by horseskin spacesuit


Display: Sort:
The Odd Spot | 41 comments (27 topical, 14 editorial, 0 hidden)
Really enjoyed this dude (2.50 / 6) (#11)
by aural junkie on Sun Dec 17, 2006 at 05:50:13 PM EST

+1FP from me....again....

Who the fuck do you think you are? K5 Weather? - Mr Strange

Topical Comment (3.00 / 5) (#13)
by livus on Sun Dec 17, 2006 at 06:01:03 PM EST

Trivia: there's another Kevin with a stubby penis in  Lace II. He coats his penis with baby oil before having sex with a wannabe Miss World in "four careful thrusts" or something.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

More trivia: (3.00 / 5) (#14)
by aural junkie on Sun Dec 17, 2006 at 06:31:56 PM EST

This time European statues:

Ever seen all those fancy nancy statues you see of generals on horses scattered throughout Europe?

  • Well if the horse is up on its hind legs only, it means the general atop died in the battle that the statue commemerates.

  • If the horse has one front leg of the ground, kind of curled, then it means that the general atop died from wounds received from a particular battle.

  • If the horse is standing, all legs on the ground, with the general atop, it means the general died of natural causes.

  • If the horse has no back legs and the general's nose has a used condom on it, it generally means generation y has had its way with it.


Who the fuck do you think you are? K5 Weather? - Mr Strange

[ Parent ]
Urban legend, I'm afraid. (3.00 / 8) (#19)
by creature on Sun Dec 17, 2006 at 07:42:16 PM EST

If a horse is on its two legs, it means the designer wanted you to get a faceful of bronze horsecock. Nothing more.

[ Parent ]
Topical comment (n/t) (2.40 / 5) (#15)
by MechaA on Sun Dec 17, 2006 at 06:58:31 PM EST



k24anson on K5: Imagine fifty, sixty year old men and women still playing with their genitals like ten year olds!

No, shit? A lack of topical comments? (3.00 / 4) (#16)
by 1419 on Sun Dec 17, 2006 at 07:08:57 PM EST

How many does it need?

yeah I didn't know that one either (3.00 / 2) (#17)
by livus on Sun Dec 17, 2006 at 07:12:57 PM EST

these rules are odd.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
Well it sounds like CTS comments = votes (3.00 / 5) (#18)
by 1419 on Sun Dec 17, 2006 at 07:31:13 PM EST

theory is already a part of the system?!?

Has anyone told him about this yet?

[ Parent ]

surely he knows by now! n (3.00 / 3) (#20)
by livus on Sun Dec 17, 2006 at 07:51:35 PM EST



---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
yeah, he knows, that's why he argues (none / 1) (#35)
by nostalgiphile on Mon Dec 18, 2006 at 09:22:32 AM EST

It's effective and I got no problem with it if you can actually have a discussion with him about something (like 30% of the time?), but he's usually just gonna call u a fucktard and keep trolling u.

"Depending on your perspective you are an optimist or a pessimist[,] and a hopeless one too." --trhurler
[ Parent ]
quoting from http://scoop.kuro5hin.org/guide/4_1_S (3.00 / 7) (#22)
by horseskin spacesuit on Sun Dec 17, 2006 at 08:19:20 PM EST

The overall comment score is a weighted average of the comment ratings; comments that have been rated more times affect the overall comment score more. The individual comment score is multiplied by the number of ratings for that comment to get a weighted value for each comment. The weighted values for all rated comments are then added together, then divided by the total number of ratings on all comments attached to the story. If the total number of ratings is lower than the value in auto_post_min_ratings, the variable is used instead (the ``boring story penalty''; if not many comments are rated, it must not be a very interesting story).



This is quite literally the only computer I'm capable of not being offended by. ~ balsamic vinigga
[ Parent ]
I didn't realise they had to be topical though (3.00 / 4) (#25)
by livus on Sun Dec 17, 2006 at 11:29:03 PM EST

you can still rate editorial comments.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
[3] interesting. Something about how comment (3.00 / 6) (#26)
by 1419 on Sun Dec 17, 2006 at 11:37:35 PM EST

ratings are important.

[ Parent ]
You could equally say it was a lack of votes (none / 1) (#36)
by Scrymarch on Mon Dec 18, 2006 at 06:05:09 PM EST

The comments thing only kicks in for autopost. ie This failed to get +40 the first time around.

[ Parent ]
+1SP before, +1SP again (NT) (2.57 / 7) (#21)
by Enlarged to Show Texture on Sun Dec 17, 2006 at 08:19:10 PM EST




"Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do." -- Isaac Asimov
Topic: +1FP again (3.00 / 5) (#27)
by nostalgiphile on Mon Dec 18, 2006 at 12:04:16 AM EST

I sometimes wonder what kinda drug-induced trip Rustmeister & co. musta been on when he/they came up with the Laws of Comments and Votes for Scoop...I mean, if yer gonna drop the post threshold then oughtan't u make similar adjstmts in the auto-post thingy? I dunno, maybe I just don't understand enuff about stuff, but u can always reply to every galldanged topical comment with snarky, shrill, dubious kindsa cts type comments to make it look like ppl are debating yer story but this is perdy anti-fictional in any case, since ppl usually don'[t comment much on fiction submissions. Brings up the question: Does Rusty hate fiction? Are fiction-writers naturally prone to oppression in K5's voting scheme?

"Depending on your perspective you are an optimist or a pessimist[,] and a hopeless one too." --trhurler
CTS's argument was weak. (3.00 / 2) (#38)
by Psycho Dave on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 05:09:33 AM EST

The number of comments on a story isn't a good metric of its quality. I wouldn't call some super-meta flamewar great discussion.

On the other hand, there's some stories where even if you enjoyed it, there isn't much to say besides "Good job!" which gets boring after the first couple of times. Few of my stories even break a hundred comments. I don't think that means they suck.

The threshold for fiction should have always been lower than for regular articles, but I understand why it isn't, since it could be easily abused.

[ Parent ]

It's a great argument (none / 0) (#40)
by cburke on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 07:08:11 PM EST

if you want to reward trolling ("getting a reaction") without regard to content.  Which he does.  So there you go.

[ Parent ]
lollers @ semiglottals (3.00 / 4) (#28)
by yaksox on Mon Dec 18, 2006 at 01:18:28 AM EST

I didn't even see this story first time up. I was a bit dismayed with the edit queues getting up to 30, most of which was crud.

But this is a good story man. Where the eff did you read about semi-glottals and other lingustica? -- I only just found out about that kind of stuff this year through study.

I am wondering what kind of car kev drove beacuse I am also wondering if being at 60kph is enough to bring down a power pole.
Discussion is invited on this.
zom·bie n. 3. One who looks or behaves like an automaton.

can 60kph take down a telephone pole? (3.00 / 4) (#30)
by binford2k on Mon Dec 18, 2006 at 02:22:44 AM EST

dunno, but 60 mph definitely can.

[ Parent ]
i just said 60 to be ambiguous (3.00 / 5) (#31)
by horseskin spacesuit on Mon Dec 18, 2006 at 03:15:04 AM EST

to suit the 'mericans and the rest of us. i didn't really stop and think about what damage could be done at what speed. Assume that bit is sung by Poetic Licence and the Lol-What Choir. You forget I was a foreign language teacher who taught a language overflowing with teh glottal stop.



This is quite literally the only computer I'm capable of not being offended by. ~ balsamic vinigga
[ Parent ]
get the fuck out (3.00 / 2) (#32)
by yaksox on Mon Dec 18, 2006 at 03:24:44 AM EST

is that what you were doing in Indo?
zom·bie n. 3. One who looks or behaves like an automaton.
[ Parent ]
yeah (3.00 / 2) (#33)
by horseskin spacesuit on Mon Dec 18, 2006 at 03:55:06 AM EST

I was a student at a teacher's college in Yogyakarta.



This is quite literally the only computer I'm capable of not being offended by. ~ balsamic vinigga
[ Parent ]
this is crap (3.00 / 3) (#29)
by binford2k on Mon Dec 18, 2006 at 02:21:45 AM EST

but the front page has gotten really damn boring

plz 2 be submitting then ~/nt (3.00 / 3) (#34)
by 1419 on Mon Dec 18, 2006 at 04:23:48 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Well written but ... (none / 0) (#39)
by meatsandwich on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 02:46:17 PM EST

... the ending's been done before in World According to Garp. Great story though and the best article here for a while.

bleh (none / 0) (#41)
by fertilizerspike on Mon Dec 25, 2006 at 01:48:38 AM EST

This is utter rubbish.

The Odd Spot | 41 comments (27 topical, 14 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:

kuro5hin.org

[XML]
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest © 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!